If you want to land your dream job, you need a professional CV or resume to show prospective employers. Another thing that you need is a great cover letter to accompany your CV. This is a step that’s often overlooked. A strong resume is not going to take you very far if you simply send it with a note saying “please see attached resume.” Remember, your cover letter is the very first thing people will see. You want to use it to make a great impression.
One ironclad rule you should follow for both your resume and your cover letter is to be completely honest. Many people think that lying or exaggerating is going to help them land a better job. It’s far more likely that this will harm your reputation. If you’re caught lying, you could get blacklisted by employers, ruining your chances of getting hired. Lying on resumes is a common practice that you should avoid if you want to land your dream job. Let’s look at some tips you can use to write a powerful and honest cover letter.
Make it personal
Make sure you address your cover letter to the appropriate person. Avoid the generic “Dear Sir/Madam/Hiring Manager” greeting, which makes it look like you’re sending out a form letter to lots of different companies. Take the time to find out the name of the manager or business owner who will be making the hiring decision.
Give reasons why you want to work there
Explaining why you want to work at this company accomplishes a couple of things. First of all, it shows you’ve taken the time to do research about the business. It proves that you aren’t simply dashing off identical letters to dozens of companies. It also forces you to reveal something personal about yourself, which is the first step in making an impression. You can mention something specific about the company, referring to its history, products or a recent story in the news. Discussing why you want to work there is a nice way to start off. You should, however, keep this brief and then segue into what matters most -what you have to offer.
Focus on what you can deliver
Companies are looking for people who will make a tangible contribution. You have to transform yourself from just another person who needs a job to someone who has something valuable to offer. Describe a few of your strongest qualities. While these will probably be listed on your resume as well, make sure you phrase it differently in the cover letter. Never copy and paste anything directly from your resume.
What to leave out
You want to make your cover letter long enough to make an impression but so long that it bores the busy professional who reads it. It should never extend beyond a single page. There’s no need to list information about your education or experience that’s included in your resume. Nor should you oversell yourself, which will only make you appear desperate. Avoid clichés that are found on virtually every cover letter and CV, such as assurances that you’re a team player, results oriented or that you think outside the box.
Remember to proofread it!
A cover letter that contains mistakes will immediately derail your objective of making a strong impression. Always proofread your cover letter multiple times before sending it off. Make sure it doesn’t have spelling or grammatical errors. Take out anything that’s redundant or irrelevant.
It’s well known that your resume is the tool that helps you get more job interviews. Your cover letter has an equally important function. It increases the chances that the hiring manager will give your resume more than a passing glance. Take the time to craft an outstanding cover letter to accompany all of your job applications.
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